Posts Tagged ‘radio’

On Reaching D2: Tonight I’ll Be The US Commentator For The Eurovision Song Contest

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

Not long after attending my first Eurovision Song Contest (Moscow 2009) I wrote this:

Terry Wogan’s continuous thirty-year run as Commentator for Eurovision started in 1980, when he was 42. Graham Norton started commentating on Eurovision in 2009, aged 46. Paddy O’Connell started commentating on the Eurovision Semi Finals aged 38. Ken Bruce started commentating on Eurovision for Radio 2 aged 37.

For the record, I’ll be 35 in May next year, which gives me some time (not that I’m counting) but if anyone down at Wood Lane [Television Centre] wants to give me a call…

So, let’s add a few more data points to add to that list:

Scott Mills started commentating on the Eurovision Semi Finals aged 37.

Ewan Spence started commentating on Eurovision aged 43.

In just over an hour,  I’ll be taking to the airwaves across America as part of the first Eurovision Song Contest commentary team for the US radio broadcast. I’ll going to tell the longer story of this adventure over the next week or so, but I do want to put a marker down before the show starts, and type this out in full.

Tonight, I’ll be a commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The list of thank you’s to get to this point is huge, but for now; Dave Cargill, Tony Currie, Lisa-Jayne Lewis, Ana-Filipa Rosa, Sharleen Wright, Ellie Chalkley, John Egan, John-Paul Lucas, Vikki Spence, Eilidh, Mairi, my family, to everyone else I’ve met and who has helped me on this journey… Thank you.

And now… let the Eurovision Song Contest begin!

Planning A New Kind Of UK General Election Results Show – Can You Help?

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Tuesday’s announcement of a General Election in the UK for June 8th caught me a little by surprise and set off a riot of emotions. I tend not to talk about politics too much online, so many of the thoughts I had yesterday are mine, or for friends and family.

But I’ll happily tell you my very first thought, because it’s one you can all help with.

I need to get behind a microphone to do the results show from 10pm on June 8th.”

I’ve anchored a number of overnight election shows on community radio here in Edinburgh since 2010. These have been broadcast out to the capital but also syndicated to other radio stations and streamed online for those in the UK (and beyond) looking for something a bit more rock and roll in their election night coverage.

I am confident I’ll be running an election night show this year. Now I need to get to that point, get a team together, sort out logistics, and all the other little bits and pieces in the way. Time is tight.

Putting The Team Together

The Election Results Show will be a collaborative effort, so I’m looking for people to be involved in the broadcast. The rough plan is have a core hosting team of two or three people working through the night, an ‘experts and pundits panel’ to discuss the results and keep the sparks flying, someone to stay on top of the constituency results and trends, another to watch over social media for a more interactive show, and a tech or two to keep the video and audio streams running.

If one of those roles sounds like something you want to do, get in touch – is probably the best way to do so.

Finding Our Temporary Studio

The first order of business – and one that really needs sorting out before the end of April – is the venue. Short of finding a radio studio suite, the show will need a decent sized space for up to 15 people, with tables and chairs, good lighting, and a rock solid internet connection (preferably with a mix of wi-fi and wired access).

My initial thought is that the show will be Edinburgh-based, but as the broadcast will be streamed online I’m open to other locations around the UK, including London.

Other Ways To Support The Show

Obviously there are some costs involved in the show, so I am very much open to partnerships. That could be co-working spaces, start-ups in a ‘broadcast’ space, publishers or other media organisations, sugary energy drink manufacturers, and so on. Again get in touch if this sounds like a contribution you can help with (

At the very least I would love to cover volunteer expenses and potentially the venue hire.

What About A Name?

The Election Results Show’ is functional but not incredibly descriptive. ‘Rock and Roll Results’ suggests musical content, and that’s unlikely to happen. There’ll be a good name that talks about the open nature of the show, the slightly rough at the edges feel, the move away from mainstream media coverage, and the online nature of the show. Right now I can’t think of it. Once more, suggestions welcome.

Over To You

I could do this alone, but it’s going to much more fun with a big group of people. Join me?

Another end of the line for MixRadio

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Part of me thinks that a service that has died so any times just to be brought back to life again can never be considered ‘dead-dead’, but the announcement today that MixRadio is be closed feels much more terminal.

Picked up by LINE from Microsoft (who picked it up from the Nokia Lumia team, who picked it up from the Nokia Music project, who picked it up from Ovi Music, who picked it up from the Nokia 5310, who picked it up from a Series 40 test app…), MixRadio is a personalised radio station that worked… offline listening, artist seeding, hand-rolled playlists, the works.

It’s not clear what defeated it, but streaming music requires a lot of data bandwidth, and the rights issues for any music service are legendarily backwards-looking. LINE’s statement covers all of those bases but with little detail.

Nevertheless, after a careful assessment of the subsidiary’s overall performance, the financial challenges posed by the music streaming market, and priorities of LINE Corporation, LINE has determined that future growth would be difficult to ensure and decided to discontinue the MixRadio music streaming service.

It’s going to be a few weeks before Mix Radio goes dark, so maybe there’s time for someone else to swoop in and Mix Radio can be a phoenix once more. Anyone interested should get in touch, the team are really good at transitions….

From The Sublime… To The Cliffhanger

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

I know there are a million ‘media/sci-fi/genre‘ podcasts out there, but here’s another reason to listen and subscribe to ‘From The Sublime‘… I’m making an appearance this fortnight!

FTS (because every good show needs to have a good abreviation) is hosted by Iain Hepburn, and works on a magazine-style format, with discrete topics introduced and presented as monologues from Hepburn and his “finely honed fighting force.” Yes, it’s ‘Nationwide for Nerds’, with just a little bit more attitude than Frank Bough.

Anyway, Hepburn asked if I would take a swing at a topic for the current episode, and I decided to look at the staple of genre television the cliffhanger, taking in the current season of Doctor Who, some of the classic series, Star Trek The Next Generation, and a few easter eggs hiding in the script (there’s a free badge for the first person to name them all).

It’s been fun being able to concentrate on ‘just the audio’ for once, and not worry about long term goals, website, promotion, or anything else. Let me know what you think!

Listen to the full show on the website, alternatively subscribe to FTS in iTunes or by RSS to get every episode.

Trivial Posts #17: Slacking, Podcasting, And Hufflepuffing

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

A busy week for me, travelling to San Francisco and the Valley, as well as reviewing the iPhone 6S on the launch day. I also suggested that Sam Smith should sing the Bond theme for the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. The latter was before I heard it… it’s like Kevin McClory thought he could do a sensitive John Barry song and nobody had the heart to tell him.

Right, on with the links.

Slacking At XOXO

I missed out in the raffle for tickets for this year’s XOXO conference in Portland this year (which would have meant even more travelling), but I’ve still been keeping half an eye on the reports and videos that have been posted online. One that offers something new not just for conferences but any other major event is Slack. Set up as a team collaboration app, but it turns out it’s a great back-channel tool as well. Casey Newton writes up his experience:

Just as South By Southwest became famous toward the end of the last decade for the way it propelled social apps into the mainstream, there was talk this weekend that XOXO might serve the same function for Slack. As Rex Sorgatz, a longtime blogger and conference attendee, put it:

Slack : XOXO 2015 :: Twitter : SXSW 2007

Why Slack could be the future of conferences

Would You Write Your Own Obituary As A Bodice Ripper?

Jackie Collins died earlier this month, and in the coverage that followed, one writer noted that she had penned her own autobiography to be released after her death. THe kiss’n’tell book many were expecting of her life will be her final parting shot at the establishment,

I do have one question though. Her obituary, published in The Economist, follows her written style just as much as her novels did. I wonder if she penned this as well?

Yet this was still not why she was the most potent and dangerous person in the room. She was a writer.

Over the years, quietly and intently, she had watched what the denizens of Hollywood were doing, and listened to what they were saying. Who had ditched whom. Who was eyeing up whom. Who had slept with whom, and full details. From her corner table at Spago’s, or half-hidden by a drape in a nightclub, or under the dryer at Riley’s hair salon, she would gather every last crumb of gossip and rush to the powder room to write it down. She turned it into sizzling novels in which, every six pages or so, enormous erections burst out of jeans, French lace panties were torn off and groans of delight rang through the palm-fringed Hollywood air.

There were 32 books in all, with titles like “The Stud”, “The Bitch”, “Lethal Seduction” and “Hollywood Divorces”. She had sold half a billion of them worldwide. Anyone she met might turn up there. Stars would beg her not to put them in her stories, and she would tell them they were there, toned down, already. Hard luck.

Hollywood Undressed

It’s LIke Radio But It Can Make You Rich

Joey Keeton writes up his experience at the recent Podcast Movement convention, highlighting a huge volume of ‘get rich quick’ offers and ‘fast routes to stardom and success’ in podcasting. The worrying thing is how much this could have been a review of some of the early podcast conventions in 2005:

Nobody wants to hear that success is impossible to see coming; they want the Plans, the Secrets, the Keys, and this struggle to crack the code of success proves, in a way, podcasting’s strength and staying power as a medium. It’s the old Hollywood dream, that legend of a handful of people making it big, that inspires millions of people to try their luck at making it, too—and ultimately coming nowhere close. When a new industry inherits that legend, people will flock to it with promises that their advice and services will help you get there, and the prices they charge are simply Smart Investments for anybody looking to prove how serious they are at succeeding.

With the rise of podcasting conventions, endless hosting services, and services so useless that their utility needs to be explained by a sales rep multiple times, a new industry is forming below the actual podcasting one: It’s a predatory industry, and it operates on the principle that, if you charge people a lot of money for something, they’ll think it’s necessary to cement their commitment to a craft that, odds-wise, they’ll most likely never get anywhere with.

Ten years ago we had ‘give up your day job’, and it looks like nothing has changed in the industry built up around podcasting. Such a shame (and this is a good point to throw in David Jackson’s ‘Why Podshow Failed‘ retrospective).

The Unfortunate Truth About The Podcasting Industry

Who Loves A Hufflepuff?

A solid argument from David Sims in The Atlantic this week about Hufflepuff, the Hogwarts house for, well, “Everybody else”. While he never quite writes it, it’s clear that Hufflepuff is the wizarding world’s reflection of socialism.

The Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore’s eulogy for Diggory is one of Rowling’s better pieces of writing in the entire series. “Cedric Diggory was, as you all know, exceptionally hard working, infinitely fair-minded, and most importantly a fierce, fierce friend,” he says, lionizing every quality Hufflepuff House members could brag about, but of course, never would. In the series’s climactic battle with Voldemort, Hufflepuff is the house with the most students (outside of Harry’s own) taking part, though Rowling takes pains to note that they did so not for personal glory, but for the greater good.

In Defense Of Hufflepuff

When You Have A Bomb, All It Wants To Do Is Explode

Google survives on ad revenue. Apple survives on hardware margins. So why shouldn’t Apple – in good old capitalist America – look to weaken Google by making the addition of third-party ad-blockers to iOS as easy as an API call? Why indeed. Jason Calacanis looks at Tim Cook’s version of Steve Jobs’ eternal quest:

Is it moral for Apple to screw publishers? Wow, that’s a big question, but in a nutshell, this is business and it’s not personal. Apple wants to make consumers buy iPhones and use them and blocking ads will help them beat Android.

Apple’s highest moral commitment is to users – not publishers. So, although Apple covets content creators, it doesn’t put their need to make a few shekles above a user’s ability to enjoy the experience of the iPhone.

Apple really wants publishers to charge for content and take 30% through the App store and their marketplaces. People who work at Apple are rich, so they don’t really get the concept of not being able to afford to pay for content.

…So killing advertising not only crushes Google, it also could flip many publishers from ad-driven models to subscriptions … in Apple’s App store. Oh yeah, Apple launched a News App as part of iOS 9, too.

That’s interesting timing.

Apple’s Brilliant Assault On Advertising And Google

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Yogi died.

If you know baseball, that’s enough. If you don’t, then you should know Yogi Berra was one of the best. Not just at the game, but at being human. There’s buckets of tributes out there, but The New York Times is probably the best place to start for everyone:

The Mets team he inherited, however, faltered, finishing third, and for most of the 1973 season they were worse. In mid-August, the Mets were well under .500 and in sixth place when Berra supposedly uttered perhaps the most famous Yogi-ism of all.

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” he said (or words to that effect), and lo and behold, the Mets got hot, squeaking by the Cardinals to win the National League’s Eastern Division title.

Yogi Berra, Yankee Who Built His Stardom 90 Percent on Skill and Half on Wit, Dies at 90

This Week’s Long Read: The Destruction of Denmark Street

Mick Brown explores the rich history of London’s Denmark Street in musical culture, and the horror of the impending Disneyfication.

Brick dust and the clamour of heavy building equipment now fill the air. Less than 50 yards away the land has been laid waste to make way for the Crossrail development, scheduled to open in 2018. Part of a conservation area with a number of listed buildings, the fabric of Denmark Street itself is to be preserved; the developers have made assurances that existing music businesses will be retained, and the street’s musical heritage respected. But campaigners and tenants talk darkly of the prospect of Denmark Street being “Disneyfied” into a characterless tourist destination – another of London’s endangered neighbourhoods.

Denmark Street: The threatened birthplace of the British record industry

‘Trivial Posts’ is a mostly weekly series of posts that brings together interesting posts, ideas, video clips, essays, images, and anything else that catches my eye on the Internet. Read it online, or subscribe to the email newsletter version here.


Should Breakfast Radio Be Short Spots Or Longer Features

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Some interesting thoughts via Media.Info on breakfast radio and why common perceptions and styles don’t match up to the data:

New data analysis based on millions of listener movements from the official Scandinavian PPM ratings systems show that this long-standing model has too rigid a focal point. Only half of listeners on Scandinavian airwaves leave their homes during the breakfast show and during the 6 AM to 9 AM period the in-home listeners heavily outnumber listeners on the go.

Don’t forget to listen to Edinburgh Nights every week!

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

You might recall that after this year’s radio broadcast of the  Edinburgh Fringe chat show came to the end, I decided to keep the format alive and showcase all the fun things in Edinburgh each week (that would have been the moment for a David Tennant-esque “I don’t want to go…”). It’s three months later, and Edinburgh Nights is still on the air, at 3pm every Friday, with a podcast available to listen again to the show (if you’re in Edinburgh), or to listen fresh to the whole hour if you are further afield.

It’s a show that continues to evolve, but being able to highlight the great bands playing in the capital, give some airtime to the theatre shows around Edinburgh, and to go beyond the ten minute set from the comedians playing the Festival city, are all adding up to an exciting hour every week.

If you’re not yet listening, head over to iTunes and subscribe to the podcast, and if you are a regular listener, why not think about leaving a review?

Can rock radio survive the onslaught of Pandora, Spotify, and the rest?

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Some interesting thoughts from Michele Catalano on FM radio’s struggle against streaming music services online. It does have a focus on the Rock radio stations, and has a huge American focus, but nevertheless a lot to think about.

Jacobs is right with his point that you can’t get that local flavor online. As much as you can program your own stations, make your own playlists and design your internet radio to fit your own style, there’s still that one thing missing: the human connection. Even if a brand like Slacker Radio has actual human DJs, the personal connection one has with a local DJ is missing and that’s where FM rock radio still has the upper hand.

The online experience has made radio a different game. Stations are not just competing with each other anymore, but competing with a changing technology that has the industry rearranging and reinventing itself over and over again.

Nokia bridge the mobile gap between mobile radio and subscription

Monday, January 28th, 2013

For four dollars a month (less change), Nokia will offer a premium version of their Nokia Music application on Windows Phone. this currently provides free streaming radio and mixes to every Nokia Windows Phone user. For a  (which is comparable to an annual Pandora subscription), you’ll get

In addition to the existing features of the free version of Nokia Music, the premium version of the service allows for unlimited skips, unlimited downloads (of music Mixes), higher quality streaming and downloads, lyrics support, and a web-app player that lets you use the service on any Internet connected device (PC, Smart TV, tablet).

Rafe has more details on All About Windows Phone. I’ll be interested to see how this rolls out and the adoption rates, but for me I’ll stick with the Xbox Music Pass. My tastes in music are far to distant from the mainstream to have any of these recommendation services get a good handle on what my ears are looking for.

Podcast news as “Unofficial Eurovision” gets noticed in Australia

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Eurovision fans in Australia (at least the ones that haven’t tried to get to Oslo) have had their radios tuned to SBS for the last two or three weeks, as they’re broadcasting a dedicated Eurovision Radio Station running up, during, and in the weeks after this year’s contest.

Over the weekend, they would have heard a familiar Scottish voice and “electrical guitar” introduction. Yes, after listening to the Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast, SBS Radio decided that what they were lacking was a little bit of Juke Box Jury action, and commissioned a special edition of the show for Down Under.

Don’t miss Ewan Spence and the Juke Box Jury’s analysis as they feature the showmanship, delights, performances and emotional highs and lows that make up the world’s biggest song contest, Eurovision.

SBS Eurovision Website

It’s being broadcast on SBS Radio at regular intervals, or if you don’t get enough of a signal where you are it’s available online to download or stream. As well as the podcast continuing in Oslo, there’ll be more from me on SBS, so keep listening!

Adam Carolla Podcast Is Not Making Radio Irrelevant

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

The point behind Adam Carolla’s new podcast doing a million downloads in his first week is not that radio is no longer needed.

If Adam Carolla was a brand new podcaster, who didn’t have millions of listeners to his existing show, he would not have been able to jump his podcast numbers to that impressive height in seven days. He had a mainstream media presence that he could take to a podcast.

What will be interesting is his retention of listeners, and if he can monetise them to a sufficient extent as his radio show could.

Then we can start talking about making radio irrelevant.

Right now, podcasting allows anyone to get their message out there to as many people who want to listen to it. We’re flattening the radio the model, and making it available to all. We’re making ‘radio’ less expensive and more accessible to all.

Same goes for TV with video podcasts, but there’s an extra magnitude of costs involved with that, which is why very few video podcasts have made the cultural leap to mainstream recognition.

Tune In To TPN Rock’s Friday Rock Show (Live) Tomorrow

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Last week, at rather short notice, I decided to stream my recording of TPN Rock – possible because I record the show as if it was live, playing and listening to all the music in real time. It’s not that difficult to do, just another cable from the recording MiniDisc (which takes the output from the mixing board) into the soundcard and through to a streaming music server.

So, the place is here or and the time, is, well that’s going to need a bit of working out…

1530 Friday, UK (Summer Time).
1030 Friday, US (East Coast), in time for your lunchtime coffee.
0730 Friday, US (West Coast), over the breakfast table.
0130 Saturday, Australlia (Melbourne), to put you to sleep.

Expect a twenty minute warm-up, the delightful sound of Mike Borgia followed by AC/DC, and then the latest Friday Rock Show… Live!!!